Performers bring Chinese culture to Patterson

(Photo: Deyanna Bell, Patterson Press)

By Mengfei Chen, Patterson Press staff writer

A group of professional dancers and musicians from China celebrated China’s cultural and ethnic diversity with a dazzling performance entitled “Colorful China” at Patterson’s auditorium on November 15. The performance featured dozens of performers in richly decorated costumes representing China’s fifty-six ethnic groups. Historical and geographic themes like “the Fantastic Prairie” and “the Ancient Times” brought China’s diversity to the stage.

“We choose to have this show at Patterson High School is because we were told that this school has students from over 40 different countries” explained Mr. Wu, the Chinese government official in charge of the performance. “China is a diverse country [so this school is a good match for the theme of our performance]” Mr Wu added.

Before the performance, the Chinese performers worked with a number of Patterson students from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and national origins so that they could be a part of the performance. During “Colorful China”, these students dressed in Chinese clothes, held Chinese traditional instruments and participated in the show.

As students poured into the auditorium, a slide show of photos flashed across a screen above the stage, showing views of China both traditional and modern. ” Colorful China” presented a gift for Patterson High School and after Mr Benton welcomed the crew, the perform began.

The first scene was based on a Chinese festival.  It showed how various Chinese ethnic groups celebrate their new year. The Miao people, one of  the many ethnic groups in China, celebrate their New Year in November. Performers used dance to show the how jubilant the celebration is. The dancers cheered and greeted the coming new year.

The second scene was a wedding ceremony. The enthusiastic groom danced and sang to express how happy he was. The bride danced with him and responded to his love. This strange wedding really let the audience experience Chinese culture and made them feel as though they had been transported to China. At the same time, dancers invited students to join them, giving students a chance to interact with them and gain a more personal connection to the dance.

The third scene was a performance of traditional Chinese musical instruments. Four musicians played four different instruments: the gu zheng, the pipa, the Chinese flute and the urheen. They played one at a time first and then together. Those instruments reappeared in a later scene about the history of classical music traditions  in China.

The final scene was also the most intense and involved all of the dancers and musicians who had performed earlier. Patterson students wearing traditional Chinese costumes walked across the stage, as the Chinese performers joined them in one last dance. The man who played the groom in the wedding ceremony twirled with impressive speed, revealing a special cape that opened up into a huge spinning top. As the show came to an end, all the performers stood together on the stage and took a bow as the audience showered them a thunderous applause.

“Colorful China” built a bridge across international borders by allowing Patterson students to experience another country’s culture. Many students hope to see more performances of this kind from other countries in the future in order to build positive relationships with people from around the world.

(Photo: Deyanna Bell, Patterson Press)

(Photo: Patterson High School Yearbook staff)

(Photo: Patterson High School Yearbook staff)

(Photo: Patterson High School Yearbook staff)

(Photo: Patterson High School Yearbook staff)

Students create gifts for the Chinese performers (Photo: Patterson High School Yearbook staff)

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